It’s not easy to open up to the world and share very personal stories. I’ve done some of that through my Straight Talk Sunday pieces – I’ve talked about my struggles with health issues and going through losing a parent – and each time I’ve published one of those stories, a feeling of doubt has run through me, wondering whether I’m sharing too much about my life. And I still know that I’m doing that on a relatively small scale. When you’re a popular artist doing something like that, it’s a whole different level of vulnerability that you have to be okay with.
But I put those words out because I know it helps people connect to me. And because I appreciate when people I spend time listening to do the same. So when I heard this new song by G-Eazy called “Everything Will Be Okay,” I felt for him and the level of fear and vulnerability that comes with releasing a song like this. The song is an incredibly personal and introspective piece about his own life. It tells the story of Gerald’s decision to leave home to try to live out his dreams and become an artist. In doing that, he left behind his mom, his little brother, and all of his friends from his hometown.
He tells the story of being picked up from school one day by his mom in a packed U-Haul van and wondering where his dad was. He soon found out they were leaving his dad and going away. He talks about his mom losing her job and the family’s financial struggles. And at the end of the song, he tells a heartbreaking story that said in the interview below that he had never even told some of his closest friends; it’s the story of his mom dating another woman when he was young and that woman’s struggles with depression and pill addiction. He writes of finding her dead on the floor of their basement after she had overdosed one evening and his emotions in that moment.
Throughout all of this, Gerald speaks of the demons and guilt he’s faced after leaving home to chase what some might call a selfish dream. But the hook repeats itself three times in the song, with Kehlani – chosen by Gerald for this song because he felt she was the only person who understood the story and its sentiment – singing “even if I don’t stay, everything will be okay.”
This is the most personal song I’ve heard yet from Gerald, and I appreciate that it comes amidst many of his songs that are very “hard,” in the hip-hop sense. Many of his lines are filled with a hint of arrogance, because that’s what hip-hop is often about. But Gerald knows that it’s also a form of music, and music is at its most powerful when its truthful, emotional and carries an element of vulnerability. And that’s just what this song is: a powerful and vulnerable chronicle of the demons Gerald has felt as he’s gone from being a neighborhood kid with a dream to a worldwide star known as G-Eazy.
Watch an interview with G-Eazy about the process of writing this song and read the full lyrics after the jump.
Another year, another adventure at Outside Lands awaits. Of the three years that I’ve been in San Francisco for this magical festival, this year’s lineup is arguably the most impressive. The headliners are about as diverse as they come: Elton John (to please the old school crowd), Mumford & Sons (to please the nostalgic crowd), The Black Keys (to please the rocker crowd), Sam Smith (to please the emotional crowd), and Kendrick Lamar (to please the hip-hop crowd). And yet there’s something appealing to the general music fan in all of these artist. Suffice it to say, they nailed it this year.
And that’s not just because of the big name headliners they’re bringing in. There is an amazing amount of rising stars in the smaller print names coming to the festival this year. To make sure you get the most out of your Outside Lands experience this year, we’ve picked 10 must-see acts who fall in the non-headliner category. And for fun, we’ve also put together an Outside Lands playlist to get you excited for the fun next weekend. Hit the jump to continue reading.
The Weeknd has been on a roll in 2015. He has released two singles, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” both of which are currently sitting pretty in the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. I convinced myself that he was going to name his third album The Hills Have Eyes, and when he didn’t (he went with Beauty Behind the Madness), I decided to name the Tape Tuesday that as an homage to his exceptional year.
The tape plays like an escape from summer camp. I imagine around track 7 (“Round Whippin'” by A.CHAL) the protagonists are whipping their shitty cars around the hills while on copious amounts of ecstasy. Through the rest of the tape, they get in trouble, fall in love, and honestly maybe have a brief stint in rehab. I don’t know. Something crazy must happen to explain the seriousness of “Mend” by Planetarian.
But I guess that is the point of the mix. You can do crazy shit in the Hollywood Hills or wherever you are, but that crazy shit will catch up to you because the hills are watching.
Do you ever feel like the only one? ‘Cause I always feel like the only one
NOTE: The Soundcloud mix is missing track 8 (“The Hills” by The Weeknd).
Hit the jump to view the full tracklist…
There is a reason coming-of-age films like Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Myth of the American Sleepover, and Palo Alto all revolve around the same three things: sex, drugs, and youth. The reason is that they are one and same. This is the mixtape that understands that.
Much like those coming-of-age films, it is about not letting the little things bother you and seeing the bigger picture in a small town setting. It is about having the clearest ideas under the cloudiest circumstances and about dark times from which you rise above. It’s about getting really, really high and staying there for a week. It is about traveling to a foreign city and fucking shit up with your friends. It’s about the things you can only do when you’re young. Or maybe it’s just the soundtrack.
Don’t tell my momma I’ve been smoking
From an outsider’s perspective (no pun intended), it could be easy to discredit G-Eazy‘s success, saying that his brand is “manufactured.” It could be easy to say that this faux-retro brand he has built from nothing is just a shtick to set him apart in an over-saturated hip-hop market. Once you witness his “shtick” firsthand, you realize that maybe his brand is manufactured to set him apart in this crazy game. It doesn’t matter. G-Eazy is a smart guy–a graduate of Loyola University’s Music Industry Studies program. He knows what he’s doing, and maybe his image is a calculated attempt at monetizing nostalgia.
But image only gets you so far.
These Things Happen will be G’s first commercial album. The man is treading into the deep waters of actually asking his fans to purchase his music! But what I saw when I interviewed young Gerald was an experienced yet still hungry rapper with a smart style, a loyal fan base, and an unending supply of good music and ideas–not to mention, he is one of the most genuine artists I have ever met. Like, he lives exactly what he raps. In our interview, the Bay Area rapper talked candidly about the challenges of tour life, the details of his come up, rap disses, his favorite brands of whiskey, and of course, the making of These Things Happen. Pre-order the album on iTunes now or buy a physical copy on June 23rd. Continue reading “[Interview] G-Eazy: “This Is Where It All Starts”” »
Jez Dior continues to build on his new sonic ventures on his latest single, “Old No. 7.” Filled with guitar twangs and distorted production, the track has a nostalgic 90s feel that any rock enthusiast could appreciate. This ode to whiskey has Jezzy dropping angst-filled bars and a worthy singalong hook to boot. Oh, and the always smooth G-Eazy is enlisted to cap things off too.
Stream the song below.
People always want to know what’s next. That’s probably why you visit this blog or other blogs on a near-daily basis. You want new music to show to your friends and vibe to when you go out. I get it, but sometimes the cool thing is not the mysterious band from Belgium, who might actually just be two Siamese twins who have spent the last decade writing songs for other artists because they did not want to be the face(s) of their own music, until 2014 when they felt things were progressive enough to accept the first Siamese pop stars. Dang, that actually seems really interesting.
My point is sometimes the cool thing is the artist you have followed since 2011, who has morphed and developed a unique sound–in hip-hop, too, where you get many more followers than leaders. Hopefully with his new album These Things Happen, G-Eazy will cement his place as a leader in hip-hop. Honestly, that probably won’t happen, but at least the blogs know what’s next.
You and I, we’re made of glass, we’d never last
Gerald Gillum, better known by his stage name G-Eazy, has sure come a long way since dropping “Runaround Sue” a couple years ago. Though he carved a nice little niche for himself by sampling doo-wop during The Endless Summer era of his career, he’s hasn’t hesitated to quickly and effortlessly evolve his sound with each successive release.
On his newest cut, “Almost Famous,” G finds himself reflecting on his steadfast rise in popularity since his first breakout single, asking himself, how long can this go on for?
I’ve always been a huge fan of this Bay Area spitter’s uber-cool style, and this video encapsulates his steez rather nicely in its creative direction, which superimposes Mr. Gillum on life-sized magazine covers.
Stream the song and it’s visuals below, and appreciate a nice little cameo by Devon Baldin‘s boobies.
Everyone making music tries so desperately to be interesting, and only a few actually are interesting. With his past few tracks especially, SITR favorite G-Eazy has been running the boards on every type of track possible. His song with Skizzy Mars (“Pay for You”) delves into a relationship with a rich girl offering to pay for the guy. His other new track “I Don’t Believe You” is about a girl pretending to be drunk just to get with G. It’s these unique song ideas and perspectives that keeps his songs interesting. “Been On” is no different. Here, Gerald takes the standard “I’m the shit” rap and puts his own hazy spin on it.
Also, this joint was produced by Christoph Andersson, who I think has a big role on G-Eazy’s new album, so shout out to him.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post, but I am back with a new feature on the site that I will be curating each Sunday recapping Sunset’s favorite songs of the week. If you fall behind on music any given week, we hope this post will get you back in the loop!
Young Gerald dropped a new single featuring long time contributor Team Robot (you’ll know them from “Run”). This is one to get turnt to.
If you’ve been following Avicii since his controversial Ultra performance where he blended live country music with his set, you’ll know he’s going in an interesting direction as of late. This one features Aloe “Needs a Dollar” Blacc, and fuses Avicii’s club-ready instrumental’s with country guitar and Aloe’s beautiful, jazzy voice.
This one is really incredible. Vicktor Taiwo, who Arjun recently introduced to the site, cover’s Ben Howard’s song “Only Love.” Vicktor’s exceptionally unique R&B combines with the instrumental to make a dreamy, driving, gorgeous song. Perhaps my favorite from the entire week.
Thanks to Dusty for bringing this to SITR, Milky Chance is an artist I had formerly been unfamiliar with. They’re kind of like Feist meets Guster meets Miike Snow, but their sound is unique and a lot of fun. With an amusing, acoustic instrumental and the lead singer’s voice that recalls Noah and the Whale, these Germans are poised to become very popular in the States.
It’s tough not to start dancing to this one. Trails and Ways describes their sound as “bossanova dreampop,” and I think that’s really the best description possible for what they have released on their new album, Trilingual. Listen to my favorite track off of that EP below, and hit the link above to stream the new EP.
Paul Otten’s “Breeze” sounds like a song that could be a breakout single this summer. Perfect for the beach and backyard barbeques, this song is simple, fun, and guarantees a good mood. Breeze will certainly be in heavy rotation in the weeks to come.
Schoolboy Q – Collard Greens feat. Kendrick Lamar
Given that this one features two of my favorite MCs of the moment, it almost makes the list by default. That being said, it clearly came with high expectations, and in my mind, it exceeded them. With great verses from the two of them, TDE kills it as always.
G-Eazy is currently working on a follow up to Must Be Nice. To hold us over until then, he dropped this little single, featuring long time collaborator Team Robot. I imagine this one is for the turn up.
I’m fucking your girl while we look in the mirror / Skeet all over her back and leave a souvenir
Related: [Interview] G-Eazy in ATL